Because God had done so much for them and for the poor, through their ministry, the Oblates wanted to be generous in their response. Following the example of the saints, they wanted their missionary commitment to God to be expressed through making vows as religious. Through this act of oblation, they wished their ministry to be as fruitful for themselves as it was for the people they ministered to.

It was to ensure fidelity to their ideals that they drew up the Constitutions and Rules that they wanted approved by the Pope.

They themselves have been struck by the wonders that grace has achieved through their ministry. They feel that to become worthy of their vocation, they must walk in the footsteps of the saints; that the members of their Society must have the possibility of working at their perfection and at the same time, they would provide the people with the means of salvation by preaching conversion to them.
They have resolved to commit themselves to the evangelical counsels and to devote themselves totally to whatever would promote the greatest glory of God, the salvation of the most abandoned souls, and the service of the Church.
The Rules and the Constitutions of the Society of the Missionary Oblates of Saint Charles (which is the name they had taken), commonly known as the Missionaries of Provence, have been drawn up in this spirit.

Petition for approbation to Pope Leo XII, 8 December 1825, EO XIII n.48

 But it is not enough for them simply to be convinced of the sublime nature of the ministry to which they have been called. The example of the saints and reason itself make it amply clear that the success of such a holy undertaking as well as the maintenance of discipline in any society make certain rules of life absolutely necessary for unity of thought and action among the members. Such unity is a body’s strength, keeping up its fervor and insuring that it lasts.

 Preface of the CC&RR


“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    As a child I learned how to do certain things and be a certain way by copying what my mother taught me, by following her around and doing what she did. And good or bad I was following her spirit as what I learned became a part of me. It gave me a way to do things. When I rebelled and turned away from my mother and my family and all that I thought they represented what at first seemed like freedom turned out to be empty. I found myself lost, without a way to go, without a road map of any kind. I was lost in so many ways. When I joined AA I was given a new set of rules to follow, a new way that would help me to live. I had to copy, and try to learn and understand a way of being that would allow me to live. I needed to steep myself in the very spirit of AA so that it became a part of me. The 12 Steps – same throughout the world, connecting all of us, uniting all of us. We took on that same spirit and it is still something that we recognize in each other no matter where in this world we are. A way of being.

    The Constitution and Rules of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, approved and honoured by the Church lay out a way to live with a shared spirit. And we, lay persons who are called to live that shared spirit, to walk with the Oblates, can find in them (CC&RR) the spirit, the base and a way of living that out which at times might look a little different from some of the vowed members but which have been woven as part of the same tapestry (I like that image).

    I look on this with no small amount of wonder and gratitude. To God for giving me such a perfect way to live out his love in this call to be an Oblate Associate. My words can never do justice or explain fully the joy and life that I receive in following St. Eugene and being able to walk with him, live his spirit. It might not look the same as others and even this took some ‘getting used to’ for myself.

    “…rules of life absolutely necessary for unity of thought and action among the members. Such unity is a body’s strength, keeping up its fervor and insuring that it lasts.” This is the joy and grace of the Constitution and Rules that St. Eugene went to Rome with to be approved. It is these very rules and ways of being that free us up to live as we have been called. Imagine rules and constitutions that if we follow and live out together will make us free! No easy task, this bit of formation within the Church. It was/is similar to what some of us now work through and wait for as we are formed and await the grace of being able to one day make our own commitment to the Oblates. Although Frank was speaking of Eugene and the early Oblates I dare to paraphrase it here in the present form for it unites so many of us with Eugene and all the Oblates past and present; “Through this act of oblation, we wish our ministry to be as fruitful for ourselves as it is for the people we minister to.” In the same spirit, with the same spirit, lived out as God calls us.

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